Saturday, December 18, 2010

Get Back on the Bus

photo by Hello, I am Brucevia PhotoRee

The screaming and yelling you may have heard outside your window Friday afternoon was the noise of newly-minted Spurs fans wildly abandoning the "biggest bandwagon in town" as the wheels came off the bus, due to the news of Tottenham's pairing with AC Milan in the Champion League Round of 16. The tie, announced Friday in Lyon and to be contested in two months' time, was greeted with a chorus of gloom and doom from Spurs' Nervous Nellie fan-base, who don't appear to be all that accustomed to the pressure and "squeaky bum time" that is the knockout portion of the tournament.  

I have some advice for you, Spurs fans, that should bring hope and good tidings in the New Year: Have courage, boys (even if it's of the liquid variety; there's a beer review at the end of this entry).  The sky is not falling, and the end is not near.  This is AC Milan we're talking about, not Barcelona.  If you want to cheer yourself up, just look across town at your buddies Arsenal: you could be in their position, and actually have to play Barcelona.  Now THAT would be truly scary.

But back to Spurs.
My inbox overfloweth today with notes from Spurs' fans direly predicting that "we're screwed," and plaintively wondering why "Chelsea and United keep getting these favorable draws" in the Champions League.   Stop the moaning, guys.  This is the European Cup we're talking about, not the FIFA World Club Cup, the League Cup, the FA Cup, or even the Dixie Cup.  If you're going to win the Champions League you're going to have to face some stiff competition along the way.  And yes, I understand that AC Milan are currently sitting on top of the Serie A, but it's the Serie A for God's sake.  It's not the Premier League, or even La Liga, but the Italian version of the top flight.  

This may not be exactly the same AC Milan team that Manchester United took down 7-2 on aggregate in last year's tournament (including a 3-2 win at the San Siro, and a 4-nil utter destruction of the Italians back at Old Trafford), but it's close.  Milan's biggest acquisition since last season has been The Nose, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish enigma extraordinaire.  

But it is the same Milan which managed to finish second in their Champions League Group, barely edging out Ajax 8 points to 7, and winning a whopping two out of the six games they contested along the way (both wins came against that international powerhouse Auxerre, by the way).  If you guys get your panties in a twist over Milan, imagine the feeling -- if you're lucky enough to advance -- of having to face someone like Barcelona or Real Madrid in the next round.  This thing ain't getting any easier as it goes forward, so count your blessings that you're not booked on a one-way express ticket to the Exit, via the Camp Nou.

Gareth Bale's hat trick at the San Siro -- albeit against Milan's noisy neighbour, Internazionale -- must give the team some confidence going into the event, at the least of the "been there, done that" variety.  So Spurs fans: follow the lead of the boss, and try to play it cool like Uncle 'arry did when asked about the draw: "...I said before I wouldn't mind playing them, because you want to play the top teams in the world....  It's a great draw."  To which I say: bring it!

This is a farlieonfootie that's excited about the future on December 19.

Game Day Beer Review: Anchor Brewing 2010 "Our Special Ale" Christmas Winter Warmer  (5.50% ABV). Poured into a chalice, the 2010 edition of "Our Special Ale" is surprisingly deep and dark brown, with a one-fingered off-white head that gradually dissipates, leaving behind only minimal lacing.   The smell is heavily malted toffee, with a hint of pine and apricot. The taste is citrusy, with a slightly burnt, earthy body, that ends in dry and lingering finish.  It’s unique, and one of the best brews of the holiday season.  Go out and get some before it’s too late: A.

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